BETHEL — In September, Team Hailey Hugs, the local nonprofit dedicated to helping families dealing with childhood cancer, lost its main source of inspiration, Hailey Steward, who passed away after an almost six-year battle with leukemia.

However, Team Hailey Hugs and the people involved have not lost their motivation and drive to provide emotional and financial support to those fighting childhood cancer.

“Team Hailey Hugs members are amazing, and they have taken THH to the level it is today because of their drive for Hailey’s mission to come true,” Hailey’s mother, Tabaitha Steward, said. “And they have been a big part of my lifeline, because losing Hailey will be a pain I will have for the rest of my life.”

Steward said the nonprofit is working on several projects, including continuing its mission to get all 455 towns and municipalities in the state to “Go Gold,” which includes a proclamation, hanging gold decorations and holding events to raise awareness.

Another mission is to get 2,000 applications for a Hailey’s license plate, which features a golden ribbon and butterfly, Hailey’s symbol. The organization needs the applications, which include an order form and a $35 fee, before the license plate can be made available through the Maine Department of Motor Vehicles and used.

In addition, the group is creating THH merchandise that can be sold to pay for operational supplies, so every penny donated can go to families.

“I’ve also been really focused on all the families fighting cancer, and their needs. So far this year, we’ve helped almost 30 families, because of all the people who donated one way or another to Hailey’s cause and mission. Those are the ones we need to thank. Because of them, these families are being touched by love and support,” Steward said.

to donate to Team Hailey Hugs, or sign up for a license plate, visit

[email protected]

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A mural in Hailey Steward’s elementary school, Crescent Park in Bethel, represents the love and motivation for Hailey and her mission that has continued after her passing. (Crescent Park School photo)

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